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July 25 MLB DFS: Thor Is Core
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July 25 MLB DFS: Thor Is Core

00:42 Starting Pitchers
09:07 Catchers
11:22 First Base
15:29 Second Base
20:09 Shortstop
25:14 Third Base
27:50 Outfield
32:57 Cash Game Roster Construction & Stacks




Starting Pitcher Rankings

Tier One

1) Noah Syndergaard (NYM)

2) Jake Arrieta (CHC)

Tier Two

3) Aaron Sanchez (TOR)

4) Dallas Keuchel (HOU)

5) Michael Pineda (NYY)

Tier Three

6) Carlos Martinez (STL)

7) Drew Pomeranz (BOS)

8) Jake Peavy (SF)

Tier Four

9) Jeremy Hellickson (PHI)

10) Ian Kennedy (KC)

11) Jarred Cosart (MIA)

We’re a bit more comfortable with Noah Syndergaard (NYM) in cash games today due to a variety of reasons. First off, he continues to pitch well despite the health concerns. He hasn’t been as consistently dominant but is coming off a really good start against the Cubs (8 Ks, 2 BBs, 0 ER) and the velocity is only very slightly down. Secondly, the Cardinals lineups against RHP have taken a big hit with Matt Carpenter out. You’re looking at very righty heavy lineups that include some high K guys (Grichuk, Gyorko, Pham). Finally, the opportunity cost isn’t too high. You definitely could play Jake Arrieta (CHC) for more money if it makes you feel more comfortable (on FanDuel where the win is weighted heavier and the price gap is smaller this makes more sense). However, Arrieta is undergoing a negative league shift and park shift, leading to an implied run total against that is a half a run higher than against Thor. Also, on both sites enough hitting values exist where you won’t have to sacrifice a ton to lock in a tier one starting pitcher.

On DraftKings, the second starting pitcher option is likely a mid-priced guy from the HOU-NYY game. We prefer Dallas Keuchel (HOU) in cash due to a higher floor (Yankees are 27th in wRC+ against LHP) and lower price tag. The volatile Michael Pineda (NYY) carries more upside as he has a much higher K rate than Keuchel, and his opponent will swing and miss a lot more too. Pineda’s risk is a bit unnecessary in cash games on this slate. If you really want to save money here, drop down to Jake Peavy (SF) who Vegas really likes (-150, opposing team total of just 3.6).

On FanDuel, your tournament options are likely coming from the above paragraph. Two breakout pitchers that can be used in tournaments on either site but are a bit overpriced for cash games are Aaron Sanchez (TOR) and Drew Pomeranz (BOS). Sanchez has a bit less K upside but the much better matchup (Padres). If utilizing either of these two in cash, Sanchez is the safer bet.

Catcher Rankings

1) Jonathan Lucroy (MIL)

2) Welington Castillo (ARI)

3) Victor Martinez (DET) (where eligible)

4) Buster Posey (SF)

5) Willson Contreras (CHC)

A familiar name the past few days once again pops up as an industry wide cash game value. Wellington Castillo (ARI) if in the lineup would likely hit fifth on the road in hitter friendly Milwaukee against Chase Anderson and his reverse splits (.370 wOBA and .207 ISO allowed to RHBs since 2014). On FanDuel if you have the room you could also pivot up to Jonathan Lucroy (MIL) in the same game. Lucroy has a better lineup spot and his Brewers have a higher implied team total (by about half a run at 5) as they take on rookie RHP Braden Shipley making his MLB debut (mediocrity in Minors points to big league struggles). On DraftKings, Lucroy is priced high so you’d look to secondary alternatives like Buster Posey (SF) (cold but good matchup, at least when it gets to bullpen) and Willson Conteras (CHC) (good hitter’s park and AL park adds to lineup depth, nice homer upside against Miguel Gonzalez).

First Base Rankings

1) Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)

2) Anthony Rizzo (CHC)

3) Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)

4) David Ortiz (BOS)

5) Brandon Belt (SF)

You’ve got two values at different price points representing our favorite industry wide options at the position. At the mid-high to high price point, Paul Goldschmidt (ARI) (top ranked hitter overall) sticks out. Hitting third on the road with a solid 4.5 team total, Goldschmidt has an excellent shot at five plate appearances, which will come off of Chase Anderson‘s reverse splits and the Milwaukee bullpen (4.29 xFIP is eighth highest in MLB). At the mid-tier price point, Brandon Belt (SF) sticks out. Belt is in the midst of a huge breakout season, combining plate discipline gains with an awesome batted ball profile. He’ll face Anthony DeSclafani (.352 wOBA and .196 ISO allowed to LHBs for his career) and the horrid Reds bullpen. As is usually the case, there’s a plethora of talent here so you can definitely go off script in tournaments, with our favorite options being Joey Votto (CIN) (positive 0.5 delta in our well-hit tool).

Second Base Rankings

1) Jose Altuve (HOU)

2) Jean Segura (ARI)

3) Ben Zobrist (CHC)

4) Jurickson Profar (TEX)

5a) Rougned Odor (TEX)

5b) Scooter Gennett (MIL)

Second base is really deep today from a value perspective, allowing you to attack the position at multiple price points. Up top, both Jose Altuve (HOU) and Jean Segura (ARI) are worthy spends, two guys that have been hitting the ball really well out of the break according to our well-hit tool. They’re each facing a pitcher that allows hard hit contact, but neither will hold the platoon edge. In the mid-tier, Scooter Gennett (MIL) will hit second with the platoon edge at home against rookie RHP Braden Shipley. He’s viable as a pivot off the top guys on DK as they are priced very expensive there. Both sites have their punt options with Neil Walker (NYM) near minimum price on DraftKings (not ideal environment but good splits play) and Jurickson Profar (TEX) near minimum price on FanDuel (has been leading off and Rangers have a healthy team total approaching six runs. Ryan Schimpf (SD) (5.90 well-hit rating over last 14 days, not counting a homer yesterday) gets a big park shift playing in Toronto. We like him a lot for tournaments, but the cheap tag keeps him viable in cash (only third base eligible on FanDuel).

Shortstop Rankings

1) Manny Machado (BAL) (where eligible)

2) Marcus Semien (OAK)

3) Jonathan Villar (MIL)

4) Carlos Correa (HOU)

5) Xander Bogaerts (BOS)

The shortstop strategies vary entirely by site. It’s a hi-lo strategy over on DraftKings where you’re either paying up for Manny Machado (BAL) (.387 wOBA, .243 ISO; Jorge de la Rosa has allowed a .344 wOBA and .183 ISO to RHBs since 2014) or dropping all the way down to Alcides Escobar (KC), who is at a punt price, way too cheap for a leadoff hitter with the platoon edge against a wild pitcher like Hector Santiago (backed up by a bad bullpen). On FanDuel, you can simply go the mid-tier route as Marcus Semien (OAK) (power breakout driven by 45.2 FB rate, platoon edge in Texas) or Carlos Correa (HOU) (high risk/reward matchup against Michael Pineda and the Yankee bullpen but a price we’re generally buying). Troy Tulowitzki (TOR) may go under looked due to lack of platoon edge and top four lineup spot, but a high team total and good recent well-hit rating makes him a nice tournament target.

Third Base Rankings

1) Josh Donaldson (TOR)

2) Manny Machado (BAL)

3) Kris Bryant (CHC)

4a) Nolan Arenado (COL)

4b) Jake Lamb (ARI)

4c) Danny Valencia (OAK)

Manny Machado (BAL) is a solid high end spend on both FanDuel and DraftKings. You can alternatively pay up for Kris Bryant (CHC) (Miguel Gonzalez has allowed 1.40 HR/9 to RHBs over his career) on DraftKings due to positional flexibility. Particularly on DraftKings, we feel spending up is the way to go (just more flexibility over there), but on FanDuel Danny Valencia (OAK) rates as a similar per dollar value to Machado while saving you $1,300 if you need the cap room. Valencia has a .389 wOBA and .185 ISO against LHP since 2014.

Outfield Rankings

1) Mike Trout (LAA)

2) Carlos Gonzalez (COL)

3) Kris Bryant (CHC)

4) Charlie Blackmon (COL)

5) Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)

6) Ryan Braun (MIL)

7) Mookie Betts (BOS) (health risk)

8) Michael Saunders (TOR)

9) Dexter Fowler (CHC)

10) Nomar Mazara (TEX)

11) Adam Jones (BAL)

12) Mark Trumbo (BAL)

13) George Springer (HOU)

14) Ian Desmond (TEX)

15) Ezequiel Carrera (TOR)

It feels like we haven’t said this in a while, but Mike Trout (LAA) is a legitimate outfield spend in cash games. He’s not a must play, but if you have the room, KC has actually been playing as a plus park for RHBs due to the summer heat. That doesn’t change tomorrow (second lowest air density index number). Opposing pitcher Ian Kennedy has a 5.38 FIP thanks to a low GB rate (32.2) and high hard minus soft hit rate (21.3). Carlos Gonzalez (COL) is the best alternative as a high priced outfield spend thanks to a good rating in our well-hit tool and Yovani Gallardo‘s peripherals (5.13 FIP, 5.75 xFIP, 11.0 hard minus soft hit rate). There are several industry wide mid-tier values, which include Giancarlo Stanton (MIA) (R/R at home but underpriced given he’s found his stride and Hellickson allows hard hit contact), Nomar Mazara (TEX) (has been hitting second; really good rating in well-hit tool), and Adam Jones (BAL) (platoon edge at home against Jorge de la Rosa, very good price on DK). An additional DraftKings specific option is Ezequiel Carrera (TOR) who gives you really cheap access to the Blue Jays out of the leadoff spot. He’s actually our model’s best per dollar value on that site. Just note that Carrera may not play or hit lower in the order if Jose Bautista returns from the DL. A couple tournament options to look at are Mookie Betts (BOS) (thinking ownership will be down relative to peers since he’s dealing with knee injury and faces a decent RHP), George Springer (HOU) (high variance matchup is good for this format), and Jason Heyward (CHC) (likely one of the lowest owned Cubs due to how bad he’s been this season; note that teammate Dexter Fowler (CHC) is cash viable on FanDuel).

Stack Rankings

Tier One

1) Toronto Blue Jays

2) Chicago Cubs

3) Texas Rangers

4) Oakland Athletics

5) Arizona Diamondbacks

6) Baltimore Orioles

It’s a really good night to simply play values as they come and not feel forced into a mini-stack of any one specific team. As a result, these stack rankings are better used to guide you in tournaments, but could also help to break 50/50 ties between players/combos in cash games.

Additional Tournament Stacks

-Milwaukee Brewers (Shipley is an unknown commodity, which expands the range of outcomes on the upper end for the Brewers)

-Houston Astros (As much as we like Michael Pineda, when he gets hit, he yields power, and the Astros are an event team)

-Detroit Tigers (Righty heavy so they set up to damage against LHP, and the park shift for them is huge playing in Fenway Park; Pomeranz struggled quite a bit in his Red Sox debut last time out)

MLB Daily Analysis

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We are currently experiencing issues with the optimizer. Please check back periodically; Our engineers are working on a solution.